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Dónal Traynor pledges social finance solutions for every community across the island of Ireland.

Community Finance Ireland, the fastest-growing social finance provider in Ireland and the UK, has announced the appointment of Dónal Traynor as the organisation’s new chief executive officer. He replaces Harry McDaid who retired last month after seven years at the helm.

Community Finance Ireland offers finance products specifically tailored for the community sector including sports clubs, community projects, faith-based groups, and social enterprises.

Originally from Cavan, Mr Traynor (44) is the youngest CEO in the organisation’s 25-year history, and the first to come from a non-banking background. He served as Associate Director with Community Finance Ireland since 2014.

Commenting on his appointment, Mr Traynor said,  

“My qualifications in economics and business, and my accreditation from the Institute of Bankers could have easily paved the way to a traditional banking career but after 16 years working in social finance, I have seen the incredible impact that it can have on communities, particularly in rural areas where grassroots organisations can be a lifeline for the community.

Since 2004, I have driven the length and breadth of the island to meet the staff and volunteers who are changing their communities for the better.  From local GAA clubs, to mountain rescue teams, and after-school groups, we worked together to develop new projects or start new building works.

At the heart of every single project, we have supported, is the dedication and capacity of the staff and volunteers. They have the commitment and the energy and often they just need the right funding to get an idea off the ground or take the next step. I believe that affordable, innovative and sustainable social finance solutions should be as accessible and common-place as local cooperatives or credit unions.

This year we have seen the incredible things that can happen when communities pull together, whether it’s rising to the challenges of unprecedented times or taking an opportunity to create something new for their community.

For me, local community has always been about sport. I’ve played GAA and soccer since I was a kid and now my own children are involved in our local club in Meath. I know what these organisations – whether it’s a sports club, a faith group or a community farm – mean to their communities and the positive impact that they have. That’s why Community Finance Ireland are here, to provide the practical support and advice that communities need to make a change or a dream come true.”

Donál Traynor Group Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Traynor has worked closely with grassroots organisations on both sides of the border and managed Community Finance Ireland’s first cross-border community business mentoring programme ‘netWORKS’ between 2004 to 2008, the only programme of it’s kind on the island of Ireland.

Welcoming the appointment, Damian McAteer, Chair of Community Finance Ireland said, “2020 marks a new chapter for Community Finance Ireland with our new all-island brand launching earlier this year and a renewed focus for us to operate on an all-island basis. Dónal has led our team in the Republic of Ireland with ambition and vision for the last 16 years, and I welcome the wealth of experience and commitment he will bring to communities from Ballymena, Co. Antrim to Ballyhea Co. Cork.